So Wings did something worthwhile, after all.
* So we get to meet the new James Bond - Roger Moore - and there's hardly anything new about the man at all. Strangely, though, the new guy (old Moore) seems to carry his age in a more fitting way than the old guy, old Connery, even though the young and the old Connery looked better than the old Moore, and Lazenby was too young.
What I'm trying to say is that if you must have an old Bond, Moore is the guy... up to a certain point. We'll get back to that on a later date.
* I immediately dislike that we get to see Bond's apartment.
It's a piece of information that tears down a part of the mystery surrounding 007, and adds nothing of value. You may think that it's no big deal, but that's because you're an idiot.
We know that Bond probably has a home, but knowing is not the same as showing. By showing, you open the mind for thoughts like: Bond toasts bread, has a sock drawer, has had to call a plumber when his toilet got clogged, avoids his senile neighbor every day, has a smelly bathrobe, does his laundry...
One of the essential things about the James Bond mythology is that it gives us a break from the real world. It may hint at consequences, pain and darkness, just to keep us grounded a bit... but hint, don't peek into Bond's sock drawer!
* Gadget time. Bond gets a wristwatch with such magnetic force that it could deflect a bullet. That's so ludicrous, you could be a fanatic Bond fan with almost no sense of physics (or logic) at all, and still moan about it.
I'm still shaking my head by the time some assassin tries to kill Bond by not shooting a poison dart at him, but at his driver instead. Obviously, the assassin can predict that the driver's foot will freeze on the gas pedal, and run the car off the road so that they die. That's some advanced poison, man. Too bad it can't also paralyze my brain, so that I can accept this bullshit.
* Everything takes a lot of time in this movie. Thank God I've established a routine where I drink while watching. I revisit my theory about there being some kind of 2-hour ideal that the filmmakers aim for, and note that LaLD is 121 minutes long. Fine, but why do I have to suffer for it?
* Roger Moore in a suit, wearing black leather gloves, looks like a million bucks. (That's saying a lot. One million 1973-bucks is more than 4.9 million bucks now, adjusted for inflation).
The whole suit and glove thing makes him look like an assassin, and brings something out in Moore's Bond that no other Bond can match: coldness.
If he could just stay in that suit, everything would be fine. Without a shirt on, Moore looks a little doughy. And is he shaving his chest or what?
* The action finally starts to pick up a little. There's a "funny" chase scene involving a student plane in the airport that I don't care about, and a chase scene with a double-decker bus that somehow manages to be completely unexciting. I can't believe this director is the same dude who made Goldfinger.
I wonder if part of my lack of interest is due to the fact that the main bad guy is nothing but a drug dealer. Who cares? That's a job for Steven Seagal or some random cop, not James Friggin' Bond! Not even the man with one of the coolest names in history, YAPHET KOTTO!, can inject excitement into that.
* Still - Live and Let Die tries to compensate for the underachieving drug dealer premise by adding a couple of genuine 007 elements. Kotto's henchman - Huge Dude with Claw - is awesome and incredibly inefficient, which is proper for a Bond villain. In fact, dozens of people have an opportunity to kill 007 in this movie, but simply choose not to. It actually defies parody at one point, when Huge Dude with Claw drives Bond off to a swamp, doesn't shoot him or use the claw or any other weapon, leaves the lethal spy alone on a pond with gators surrounding him, and then proceeds to leave the area while nobody watches James Bond die.
All that for the opportunity to let Bond run on the backs of some reptiles. It ain't that fun, people!
* The endless boat chase has some merit to it, though, even if it gets repetitive about one third in.
And that redneck cop makes me want to stab someone in the face. If I wanted to watch Smokey and the Bandit or whatever, I'd do that. Cutting every sequence featuring that scene-raping character could improve the movie's overall quality by at least 50%.
* Another element that annoys me, is the whole voodoo thing.
I mean, it's OK that young Dr. Quinn believes that 007 bangs the Tarot-readin' mojo out of her by popping her cherry. That is because everything can be explained by her being an impressionable simpleton, and by Kotto being a superstitious black dude (like the "cute" racism in Dr. No).
But then that whole Baron Samedi shit starts to happen, and all of a sudden - WT holy F!? - Samedi's head gets shot open, and cracks like an egg while he rolls his eyes like a cartoon character! I feel like I'm watching Tim Burton's James Bond, and it makes me angry. Like the Planet of the Apes remake.
* But anger is good. Anger gets me through the uninspired Bond Bad Guy Lair, through another batch of harmless sharks, and through Kotto's ridiculously cartoony death by explosion.
* Finally, it all ends with a train fight that would be OK, if it weren't for the fact that it's already been done, only a few Bond movies back. Oh, and it also doesn't help that Roger Moore can't fight at all. It actually looks that this is the very first time Moore tries to act like he's fighting.
The last thing we see in Live and Let Die, is the laughing Baron Samedi sitting in front of the train. What's that irritatingly redundant character laughing at, you may ask? Probably the fact that young Dr. Quinn is inside the train, getting a celebratory bang by a guy who's three times her age.